A three-hit night from Hunter Renfroe and a determined effort from starter Joe Ross propelled the Lake Elsinore Storm to a 9-7 victory over the High Desert Mavericks Thursday night, securing the series win and sole possession of first place in the California League South.
The Mavericks struck first, scoring a run in the top of the first inning after a walk, a double and a ground out. But Lake Elsinore responded in the bottom of the frame with two of their own, highlighted by hits from Corey Adamson and Diego Goris that gave the Storm a 2-1 lead.
A lead is never safe in the Cal League, and the Mavs proved that true with runs in the second, third and fourth to jump ahead 5-2.
Despite the deficit, the Storm started their comeback in the bottom of the fourth. Consecutive singles from Renfroe, Jeremy Baltz and Luis Domoromo cut the High Desert lead to two, and a John Nester ground out later in the inning made it a 5-4 game.
A three-spot in the fifth gave Lake Elsinore the lead for good. Adamson led off with a walk, and two batters later Alberth Martinez plated the Aussie with an RBI double. Up stepped Renfroe, who crushed a first pitch fastball down the line in left for his ninth home run of the year, part of a three-RBI night for the former Mississippi State Bulldog.
The Storm added single runs in the sixth and seventh, including Domoromo’s third dinger of the season, to increase their advantage to four.
A pair of eighth inning runs for the Mavericks was cause for concern late in the game, but Trevor Gott came on to record four outs and secure the victory. The Lexington, KY product leads the league with thirteen saves.
Ross finished six innings and scattered six hits while allowing four earned runs, but the offense provided plenty of pop for the newly-minted 21-year old to earn his team-best fifth win of the season.
Five separate Storm tallied RBIs in the game, and seven of nine starters recorded a hit. Adamson and Renfroe led the way with a trio of hits each, joined by two-hit performances from Martinez and Domoromo.
Lake Elsinore (28-20) will travel to Rancho Cucamonga tomorrow for the first of a four game series with the Quakes (23-25), who are the only other California League team besides the Storm with seven wins in their last ten games. Zach Eflin (4-2, 3.44 ERA) gets the ball for the Eyes while Tom Windle (4-2, 4.40 ERA) will go for Rancho. First pitch is slated for 7:05pm.